85233 - State Building and Nationalism

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Stefano Bianchini

  • Credits 4

  • SSD SPS/06

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Forli

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Interdisciplinary research and studies on Eastern Europe (cod. 8049)

  • Course Timetable from Sep 27, 2021 to Dec 06, 2021


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality Peace, justice and strong institutions Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

This model is mainly devoted to give an interdisciplinary introduction to the State building process in East Central Europe, Russia/Soviet Union and in the Balkans. Student is expected to make comparisons and have a comprehensive picture of the impact of nationalism, self-determination, and the process of construction/deconstructing State institutions from the crisis of the Great pre-modern Empire to the EU Enlargement Eastwards.

Course contents

Adopted teaching model

The course is organized according to the traditional teaching model with face to face active participation of students. Therefore, students are required to carefully read the assigned materials before the class and active participate through presentations according to the instructions received by the professor.

In case enrolled students cannot join temporarily the Forlì Campus due to heath related conditions, they will be able to follow the lectures remotely, simultaneously with students in presence (blended teaching system). They will be also instructed how to actively contribute to the lectures from the distance.


The module will concentrate diachronically and synchronically on the processes that have characterized the development of (a) nationalism, as a key ideological framework in East Central Europe and the Balkans, (b) federalism, both as project of coexistence/interdependence and a political experience of the 20th century communism, and (c) the nation/state building process since the 19th century with its controversial interpretations. The module is aimed to offer to the students a broad and introductory knowledge of the most relevant aspects that have marked politics and history from the crisis of the modern dynastic empires to the collapse of the communist federations. The mechanisms connected to the implementation of the ideas of self-determination and secession will be analyzed in their own theoretical and substantial implications, following either the dynamics between civic and ethnic nation-building process or the conflict between the ideas/projects of inclusiveness via federalism, and the attempts of constructing homogeneous cultural and political groups based on the exclusiveness of otherness. Therefore, students will acquire an interactive picture of the complexity of changes from nationalism to globalization in the East-European experience, by discussing the content of the terminology, the main academic and policy-makers interpretations of nation and state, as well as the historical developments of the 19th and 20th century in East-Central Europe, Russia and the Balkans. The main topics that will be at the focus of the classes will be as follows:

* Enlightenment, theories of Nationalism and federalist projects in Eastern Europe

* Cosmopolitism, nationalism and communism

* Political Cultures in Eastern Europe and State building processes

* Self-determination, Secession, and Patriotism

* Social Changes between patriarchism and gender relations

Lesson 1

Introduction to the subject and methodology:

Introduction to the subject. Methods of working and studying. The Program of the course. Assignments

The notions: Eastern Europe Modernity, networking, diasporas and the Métissage: how to deal with development and nation-states

Modernity: definitions.

Habermas’ approach, similarities and differences with the East European frameowrk.

Zygmunt Bauman:

Solid and Liquid Modernity as a trend: the fusion of notions: from tradition/habit/usages (with economic liberation) to the fusion of the family, the class and the neighborhood.

The Challenges of Enlightenment and Modernity in Eastern and Western Europe. Time-Space compression: the radical changes from the industrial revolution.

Nation State (Solid Modernity, homogeneity, compatibility with industrial production).

Mass societies, gender policies the suffrage, legitimization of powers and loyalties from the 18th to the 21st century

European Networking in History and the New nomadisms (Liquid Modernity, diasporas, hybridity/métissages);

Lesson 2

Theories of Nationalism (1): Primordialists and Voluntarists.


The Nation and the philosophy of history:

Nationalism and Primordialism: Herder, Fichte. The poetry and the mission

The Volutarist approach to the nation


Herder, Fichte, Rénan, Mazzini

Lesson 3

Theories of Nationalism (2): Constructivists

Modernity, intellectuals and the constructivists: printing press and language

The nation as an invented tradition: myths and memory

Readings: Anderson, Gellner, Hobsbawm, Weber

Lesson 4

Self-Determination in Lenin and Wilson

Nationalism and self-determination in Wilson and Lenin


Declaration of the Rights of People of Russia, 1917 (p. 1)

Garushiants, The National Programme of Leninism (pp. 31-47)

Derek Heather, Background to the Fourteen Points (pp. 36-46)

Link, Wilson: The Fourteen Points Address 8 Jan. 1918 (pp. 535-539)

Wilson, President Wilson Speech of Feb. 11, 1918 (pp. 6)

Lesson 5

Soviet federalism

Soviet federalism and Autonomization

Lenin and the indigenization

Communism and the internationalism (Stalin, Werth, pp. 205-217)


Lenin, On the Question of Nationalities or of “Autonomization”, 30-31 Dec. 1922 (pp. 151-153)

Joseph Stalin, The Nation (pp. 18-21)

The Formation of the USSR: The Union Constitution, Jan. 13, 1924 (pp. 165-167)

Kommunist, The merger of nationalities, n. 12, 1982

Lesson 6

Irredentism, Power Politics, and Nazism

from 1870 to 1991 (from imperialism to the Balkan cooperation in the late 80s)

19th century: panslavism, neoslavism, Czartoryski and Kossuth)

Italian Irredentism and imperialism

Hungarian revisionism and the Trianon trauma

Hitler and racism


Kallis, Fascist Expansionism in Practice (pp. 104-121)

Zeidler, Irredentism in Everyday Life in Hungary during the Inter-War period (pp.71-88)

Corni, “Volk”, “Nation”, “Rasse” in the Theory and Practice of the National Socialism (pp. 49-68)

Lesson 7

The Yugoslav federalism

The structure of the Yugoslav federalism

Its relations with self-management and its limits

The categories in use


AVNOJ decision on Building Yugoslavia on the Federal Principle (Nov. 29, 1943, pp. 585-586)

Djordjevic, The Forms and Structure of Yugoslav Federalism (pp. 365-392)

Mostov, Politics of National Identities in former Yugoslavia (pp. 58-73

Lesson 8

Nationalism and Sexuality: the Gender Approach to Nationalism

History of respectability

Nationalism, middle class and sexual homogeneity

Gender hierarchical relations


Mosse, Nationalism and Respectability (pp. 1-22)

Verdery, From Parent States to Family Patriarchs: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Eastern Europe, (EEPS, pp. 225-255)

Mostov-Ivekovic, From Gender to Nation-Introduction (pp. 9-25)

Duhacek, Gender Perspective of Political Identities in Yugoslavia (pp. 113-126)

Lesson 9

The Nation and the State

States, nations and macrioregions in the changing geopolitics of post-socialist contexts


Connor, A nation is a nation, is a state, is an ethnic group, is…, (pp. 36-46)

Neubauer, What’s in the Name? Mitteleuropa, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, East-Central Europe (pp. 1-9)

Kedourie, Nationalism and Self-Determination (pp. 49-55)

Law on the Special Juridical Status of Gagauzia, Dec.23, 1994 (p. 3-5)

Lesson 10

Assessing the access to independence: when a new state is legitimized to exist?


Conference on Yugoslavia, Opinions of the Arbitration commission, 1992

Constitutional Court of Canada, Reference re Secession of Quebec, 1996

ICJ, Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo (paragraphs 101-122), 2010

Lesson 11

Politics and Cultures under transformation

Globalization and egualitarianism; gender policies and new nomadisms; family organizations, religious prescriptions and new forms of intolerance: Post Nation-State reshaping and democracy


Gringrich-Barks, Neonationalism (pp. 2-23)

Vladimir Putin, Address of the President of Russia in Crimea Republic, March 18, 2014 (pp.1-7)

Stephem Krasner, Problematic Sovereignty (pp. 1-21)

Braidotti, Nomadic European Citizenship (pp. 223-247)

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Compulsary Readings:

Stefano Bianchini, Liquid nationalism and State Partitions in Europe, Edward Elgar, London, 2017 (e-book available).

Together with:

All the documents selected and discussed during the lectures

And the support of the following references in order to help students preparing their presentations

Mostov, Nation and Nation-State, in: Michael T. Gibbons (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Political Though, Wiley and Sons, Hoboken NJ, 2015.

Henry Huttenbach and Francesco Privitera (eds.), Self-Determination. From Versailles to Dayton. Its Historical Legacy, Longo, Ravenna, 1999.

Stefano Bianchini, Joseph Marko, Robert Craig Nation, Milica Uvalic, Regional Cooperation, Peace Enforcement and the Role of the Treaties in the Balkans, Longo, Ravenna, 2007 (only the chapters of the following authors: Vankovska, Marko, Pajic, Hoxhaj, Craig Nation, and Janjic).

Michael Libal, Ethnic Conflict in the Balkans and in the Caucasus. Some General Considerations, In “Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies”, n. 2, vol. 2, 2002.

Metta Spencer, Separatism. Democracy and disintegration, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 1998.

Stefano Bianchini, Sanjay Chaturvedi, Rada Ivekovic and Ranabir Samaddar, Partitions. Reshaping States and Minds, Frank Cass, London, 2004.

John Hutchinson and Anthony Smyth, Nationalism, Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 1994

Stefano Bianchini, Craig Nation (eds.), The Yugoslav Conflict and Its Implications for International Relations, Longo Editore, Ravenna, 1998.

Vladimir Kolossov, Ethnic and Political Identities and Territorialities in the Post-Soviet Space, in «GeoJournal», n. 48, 1999, pp. 71-81;

Barbara Evans Clemenys, A History of Women in Russia, Indiana Univ. Press, Bloomington, 2012.

Christine M. Hassenstab and Sabrina Ramet (eds.), Gender (In)equality and Gender Politics in Southeastern Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Bojan Bilic and Sanja Kajnic (eds.), Intersectionality and LGBT Activist Politics. Multiple Others in Croatia and Serbia, Palgrave MacMillan, London, 2016.

Maurizio Viroli, For Love of Country, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995

Michael Hefferman, The Meaning of Europe. Geography and Geopolitics, Arnold, London, 1998.

George Schöpflin, Nations, Identity, Power, New York Univ. Press, New York, 2000.

Ladislav Holy, The Little Czech and the Great Czech Nation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996.

Betty Miller Unterberger, The United States, Revolutionary Russia and the Rise of Czechoslovakia, Texas A&M Univ. Press, College Station, 2000.

Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, Oxford Univ., Press, New York, 1995

John Hoffman, Sovereignty, Univ. of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1998;

Krzysztof Michalski (ed.), What hold Europe together?, CEU Press, Budapest, 2006;

Anand Menon and Vincent Wright, From the Nation State to Europe?, Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 2001;

John O’Loughlin, Vladimir Kolossov e Andrei Tchepalyaga, National Construction, Territorial Separatism and Post-Soviet Geopolitics in the Transdniester Moldovan Republic, in «Post-Soviet Geography and Economics», n. 6, 1998, pp. 332-358

Hugh Poulton, The Balkans. Minorities and States in Conflicts, Minority Rights Publication, London, 1994.

Teaching methods

Methodologically, classes are organized interactively. Regular lessons include discussions on the topic of the day and students' acquisition of transversal skills. In particular, students are expected to organize themselves in team-works and make oral presentations of the selected documents with the support of readings, according to the instructions received during classes. Social responsibility toward classmates, ability in addressing the audience, direct focus on the key issues and strictly respect of deadlines are among crucial components of the lessons guided by the Professor. His lessons explanations will help students understanding the historical context and receiving additional interpretative inputs aimed to increase their critical thinking.

Assessment methods

Oral exam. Students are expected to analyze and discuss in details the topics that have been developed during classes with appropriate references to the sources offered by the readings. The ability of comparing theoretical approches and policies implementation will be highly appreciated.

Teaching tools

PowerPoint and overhead projector

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Bianchini